Thursday, 21 May 2015

Tripadvisor Hall of Fame

Being British we don't like to blow our own trumpet too often, but we're reluctant to sweep our recent win under the carpet too; it's cost us.

For five consecutive years Holdsworth House in Halifax has won the Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence, which puts the Jacobean manor made famous recently for its role in Last Tango in Halifax, into the Tripadvisor Hall of Fame.

So what? We hear you cry. Well it's more than a little badge to wear proudly on the hotel's lapel. It represents five years of saying yes to guests when the easy option is to say no. It's five years of beaming our way through (the occasional) day when we're feeling low. It's five years of toil and hard graft - and for anyone working in hospitality, you know it to be a tough job: lugging around furniture, cooking in a busy banqueting kitchen, and we reckon that's 49,300 beds housekeeping has changed in the time!

So this time we'll blow our little trumpet as loud as we can for our big team effort. It has been absolutely worth it to gain a loyal following of guests; the badge makes it all the more sweeter.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Try the Tour De Yorkshire Cycle Route

Calling all keen cyclists! You cannot have failed to miss 2014's Grand Depart coverage of Yorkshire: the crowds were incredible - perhaps you were in them!

Not happy with hosting the world's greatest cycling race, Yorkshire has gone one wheel revolution further in 2015 and is soon to host its own cycling event, the Tour de Yorkshire. The great news? It's coming to Calderdale, which means that Holdsworth House is best placed for trying your legs on the infamous hills and valleys of the nearby Tour de Yorkshire route.

Sir Bradley Wiggins is already signed up to take part in the event, helping to further raise the profile of what is rumoured to become the flagship cycling event in the UK cycling calendar.

Well set up for accomodating groups of cyclists Holdsworth House makes a popular leisure destination for weekend or midweek cyclists. We can offer safe lock up of bikes overnight, washdown facilities for off-roaders, single, twin and double rooms and of course some fabulous (calorie packed if you'd like) food to provide you with the best send off, we'll even do packed lunches for you.

Calderdale is a fantastic destination for cycling and mountain biking or family bike rides. See some brilliant routes here and check out the events taking place this year:

To book accommodation or to find out more about cycling breaks at Holdsworth House visit here or call 01422 240024.

Pictures courtesy of Cycle Calderdale

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Winter Wedding - Is it right for you?

Every bride wants her wedding to be special and memorable. The 'wedding season' has traditionally run from May to September in the UK when there's more chance of warm weather. For a wedding venue like Holdsworth House, the benefit of a summer wedding is that the gardens also come into their own from spring. Blue Johnson geraniums, marigolds and clemetis are frequently see packing the borders or climbing the walls.

In the 90s however more and more couples began exploring the option of getting married overseas. The British weather can't always be relied upon to deliver glorious wall to wall sunshine so the appeal of a beach wedding on warmer shores is understandable. But often the expense, the beurocracy of ensuring the marriage is legal and the fact that many guests won't be able to join the special occasion are largely inhibiting factors that put couples off.

Most will agree that when the sun does shine, there's no better place to be than in glorious England. Beautiful architecture, dramatic landscapes and great food, particularly in God's Own County, mean that bagging a Yorkshire venue for your wedding offers plenty to look forward to.

Why do so many couples pin so much of their hopes on the weather? After all it's the one thing about a wedding you can't control. Summertime will be warmer but whether you're graced with sunshine, rain, showers, rainbows, wind or an overcast day is another thing. What's pretty certain about a winter wedding is being blessed with a cooler climate! We say once you choose your date, forget about the weather - it will do its own thing and us Brits are well versed in preparing for any eventuality.

The benefit of a winter wedding is that it's different. Think back 30 years, no-one got married in winter. Today some brides or grooms find a winter wedding gives guests a real, exciting break from the norm: summer holidays are over and people are back to work, fake tanning creams are back in the cupboard and there's a bit of a lull either side of Christmas. Holding your wedding in winter usually offers you a price benefit too as there are fewer couples vying for a handful of key dates.

Then there's the venue dressing to consider. In summer you dress your room but might spend much of the time outdoors in the beautiful grounds. Close to Christmas is different though and at Holdsworth House we take venue dressing seriously. From November we bring in designer Susy Stirrup to weave her magic touch into the house to make it all festive, providing a pretty, twinkly background for any wedding photographer.

There are some fabulous seasonal foods out in winter too that you just can't get in summer, or that simply don't work on a warm wedding day - like mulled wine or delicious homemade root soups.

As an historical building like Holdsworth house (which was built before the likes of central heating and loft insulation, which we now have of course!) features were made of the large stone fireplaces so there's nothing better than coming in to seeing these roaring and crackling away; it's a cosy yet opulent feel and smell that takes you back to a bygone era.

As for blue skies, we've seen our most stunning photographs captured with the low winter sun filtering through the mullioned windows. Robins, hedgehogs all live in the grounds in winter and in recent history there's never been a day the hotel has had to close due to adverse weather. But whilst we can't promise a sprinkling of frost or snow, when it comes it's the stuff of picture postcards. Bliss!

Winer wedding gallery
Winter wedding package

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

The Wedding Eve Party

In a world where international travel is commonplace and more and more of us are choosing to live and work abroad, a wedding is one of the few times that families and friends are able to come together. Despite the warm lure of Dubai or the stunning Skylines of Singapore, many of our brides and grooms love to return to the Yorkshire homelands to tie the knot.

A recent wedding at Holdsworth House saw the bride and groom, who live and work in the far east, choosing to marry in their native UK surrounded by their family and friends. What better way then than to extend the celebrations for the closest few than with a Holdsworth House Wedding Eve Party.

Relatives arriving into the UK or driving from the other end of the country often come a few days prior to the big day; it's uncommon for such guests to simply rock up at the wedding venue just as you're heading down the aisle! As a result Holdsworth House has seen a growth in couples and families celebrating the night before the 'main event' as a way of welcoming and catching up with those long-distance relatives. Many say it's a great way to settle the nerves and put everyone in the party mood.

The private dining rooms at Holdsworth House have served as the best location for such events and chef has created a selection of sharing dishes on the Host A Roast menu, in effect to give families a fabulous home from home roast dinner or hearty homemade pie to delve into.

The big day can whizz by fast, so if you've got a bit of catching up to do, host a Wedding Eve Party to thank your guests for coming and kick the celebrations off in style.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Booking direct V booking via another hotel booking website

There are so many hotel booking websites and comparison sites now that instead of helping guests find an easy route to reserving a hotel room, many are simply comparing comparison sites!

The internet has paved the way for lots of new 'hotel booking agents' to spring up, so how does it work?

1) Some agents buy hotel stock
Some agents agree an allocation of rooms each night with the hotel. That means that when you book, your room is guaranteed - but they can't allocate you a specific room e.g. if you love room 20 for its views or because it has wheelchair access, agents can't automatically allocate you this. It has to be done within the hotel's system.

2) Some agents simply agree a price but no allocation
Some agents will agree a price but when you book they will send the request to the hotel - this way you can't guarantee a room and run the risk of being booked out, or later finding out your 'booking' is not actually a booking at all if there are no rooms available! You may not receive a confirmation. Indeed the hotel may not receive your booking request at all from the agent leaving everyone fuming!

3) Best Available Rate
Some agents use the hotel's Best Available Rate, this is a rate that fluctuates daily, set by the hotel. The agent simply pulls the data through to their website, making it the same as booking direct. The hotel pays the agent for the privilege of promoting the room. The customer assumes the booking has been made there and then but there are lots of things going on in the background to ensure the booking is in the hotel's system. The confirmation comes from the booking agent. Special requests are noted but can't be guaranteed or discussed through an online agent - you'd need to ring the hotel direct.

4) Best Available Rate +
Some agents take the hotel's daily rate (through another 3rd party) and add their own cut on top, meaning the customer loses out by paying more. You might not have heard of the booking website, know where they are based (they may be outside the UK) or who indeed you've paid money to. They might say things like 'best price' or 'last room' when in fact both of these statements could be untrue. The problem is the lack of regulation of such websites.

5) Wholesale Prices
Some travel agents buy room stock on a group booking basis for specific dates and a lot of rooms at a reduced rate. They then charge the customer what they like for these rooms. They usually package them up e.g. theatre breaks, coach tours.

6) Wholesale Prices +
Some agents take wholesale prices and add their own mark up - charging whatever they want. Many of these are based outside of the UK and don't list the correct hotel information. Rates are often converted from alternative currencies and so fluctuate. They sometimes don't include breakfast... Are you really sure what you're buying?

In Summary
If you want a hotel room - cut through the confusion and book direct. Here's the benefit of booking direct with Holdsworth House:
  • Avoid any confusion over who has the best rate - we always have the best rate direct
  • Ensure your booking is in the hotel's system
  • Receive a confirmation from the hotel
  • Have more flexible booking and cancellation terms
  • Have a full cooked breakfast, parking, wifi and VAT included in the room price
  • Know who you have paid and who has got your money!
  • Ensure any special requests or add ons e.g. specific rooms, Champagne and chocolates in the room etc are dealt with.
This isn't just a ploy by hotels to get more bookings - the simple fact is that the more people and companies are involved in the one booking transaction, the more can go wrong and each party wants a slice of the what the customer ends up paying!